March 28, 2023
VIDEO: Ahead of Caucus Launch, Pressley Honors Contributions of Black Women to Push for Equal Rights Amendment
“For centuries, the contributions of Black women have been excluded from the narrative and marginalized in history. But not today.”
“I know how transformative the ERA will be for millions of women and our LGBTQ siblings across this country. It is long past time the Constitution affirms our equality and our very existence in the eyes of the law.”
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) delivered a powerful House floor speech commemorating the legacy and contributions of Black women at the forefront of the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Tomorrow, Congresswoman Pressley and Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) will host a press conference to formally launch the first-of-its-kind, historic Congressional Caucus for the Equal Rights Amendment. Media wishing to attend the press conference should RSVP here.
Earlier this year, Rep. Pressley and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), alongside Congresswoman Bush and their colleagues, unveiled a bicameral, joint resolution to affirm the ratification of the ERA and take a critical step toward enshrining gender equality in the United States Constitution. Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a historic hearing on the Pressley-Cardin bill, the first of its kind in over 40 years.
A video of her floor speech can be found here, and a full transcript is available below.
Transcript: Pressley Honors Contributions of Black Women to Equal Rights Amendment
March 27, 2023
U.S. House Floor
As Black women who have earned the right to be members of this august body, we find ourselves at the intersection of both race and gender.
Some of the most profound and most impactful policies come directly from our lived experiences.
Each day, as we walk the sacred halls of power, we see statues and portraits of white men that serve as reminders of the inequality and the lack of parity in these halls, in our nation’s past and present.
For centuries, the contributions of Black women have been excluded from the narrative and marginalized in history. But not today.
Today, there will be no erasure. We will give all the flowers to Shirley Chisholm, and Barbara Jordan, and Pauli Murray.
Black women, they believed, are inherently valued and our equality is a necessity. And they advocated for the ERA to codify those truths in our Constitution.
But ratifying the ERA is not only about history, it is about the here and now. Black woman is still organizing at the forefront of the women’s rights movements.
Zakiya Thomas, Christian Nunes, Melanie Campbell, and Fatima Goss Graves are community builders, and organizational leaders that are working daily to get the job done.
Black women, justice seekers, truth tellers, pace setters, table shakers, always doing the work of liberation, even when our own was often sacrificed.
I feel especially encouraged and emboldened that Black women are a part of the multi-generational and multi-racial coalition leading and working in an intersectional way to advance policy change.
This Congress, I introduced a joint resolution to finally make the Equal Rights Amendment the 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, but I did not introduce it alone.
I was joined by Congresswoman Kamlager-Dove, Madeleine Dean, Sylvia Garcia, Abigail Spanberger, and of course, my partner in good, my sister in service, and Co-Chair of the Equal Rights [Amendment] Caucus, Representative Cori Bush.
When the Equal Rights Amendment was put forward 100 years ago the coalition was not as diverse nor as inclusive. As a Black woman who has experienced firsthand many of the daily indignities of an unequal society and heard stories from my mother, Sandy, may she rest in peace and power, who throughout her career had to train men who were paid more and promoted over her.
I know how transformative the ERA will be for millions of women and our LGBTQ siblings across this country.
It is long past time the Constitution affirms our equality and our very existence in the eyes of the law.
The ramifications run deep, as women face daily sexism, pregnancy discrimination, pay inequities, sexual violence, and persistent legislated attacks on our bodily autonomy.
We need the ERA now.
So I stand stridently with my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus and my Co-Chair of the new ERA Caucus to demand that Congress does its job, pass our resolution and codify the Equal Rights Amendment into the US Constitution.
I have no doubt that in short order, there will be a calendar one day that will cite “on this day in history, the ERA Caucus was established.”
While I look forward to the day that there will also be a calendar that notes “on this day in history, the ERA was passed.”